COLUMBUS, Ohio –
From the sentinels at the entry gates to the patrol cars that keep watch over the streets, police officers at Defense Supply Center Columbus are a ubiquitous sight across the installation. While most associates see them every day, many may not realize the amount of work that goes into keeping the facility safe 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
From May 15-21, the DSCC community recognized the contributions of police officers in a variety of events designed to raise awareness and demonstrate support for the sacrifices those officers make each day. The events kicked off with a special wreath laying ceremony May 16 and continued throughout the week.
In 1962, President John F. Kennedy signed a proclamation designating May 15 as Peace Officers Memorial Day and the week which includes that date as Police Week. For more than five decades, hundreds of thousands of law enforcement personnel gather around the county to honor and memorialize their colleagues who’ve made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty.
The week started with a ceremony at the future site of a monument to honor police officers killed in the line of duty. A crowd of spectators gathered outside the installation police station to watch the laying of a wreath to recognize those officers.
Defense Logistics Agency Land and Maritime Chief of Staff U.S. Navy Capt. Justin DeBord spoke at the event, highlighting the often thankless duties performed by more than 80 police personnel who serve on DSCC.
“Every shift, you put on your uniforms and head to work knowing that you may be called upon to put your own lives on the line,” DeBord said. “You serve a purpose far greater than yourselves, and for that you deserve our utmost gratitude.”
Richard Curry, chief of security and emergency services and Rex Lynne, DLA Columbus police chief were flanked by the police honor guard as they placed a wreath to mark the future location of the DLA Police Memorial.
On May 18 associates were treated to a rare look at the tools and equipment the police use to protect and serve. Several tables in the Building 20 cafeteria displayed gear including riot shields, battering rams, and protective body armor and all of it was available to be picked up and observed closely.
Also on hand that day was the police unit’s mobile command vehicle, with officers standing by to offer tours and answer questions. The vehicle, nicknamed “Big Blue”, serves as a self-contained tactical command center which can be employed during emergency situations to ensure continuity of command and communications.
Tucked away behind the main display was a small table that was strictly for viewing only – from a distance. The table held a collection of illegal and prohibited contraband representing some of the items confiscated from people or vehicles entering the facility.
Drug paraphernalia, fake identification cards, bladed weapons, and even a consumer-grade remotely operated drone made up the collection of seized goods. The display served as a stark reminder of the dangers and threats DLA Columbus police prevent each day.
DLA Columbus Police Division Watch Commander Edward Compton Jr. says the week’s events are a way to acknowledge the contributions of the peace officers who commit their lives to the service of public safety.
“Police Week honors fallen police officers, and it also gives recognition to the difficult and dangerous jobs being done by the police,” he said. “This is often a thankless job, meaning we don’t go out seeking thanks. We do it because we’re part of the community.”
The Family Morale Welfare and Recreation office sponsored a Memorial 5k walk/run May 19 to recognize service members and peace officers who have given the ultimate sacrifice while performing their duties. More than 100 runners and walkers took part in the event, marking one of the largest turnouts in DSCC Memorial 5k history.
Other activities throughout the week included a chili cook off competition which pitted the fire department against the police department’s best amateur chefs, as well as a family day picnic for police officers and their families.
“Police Week allows us to show appreciation for the hard work our officers put in every day,” Compton said. “The main focus is the Memorial Day, but we spread it out over the entire week to ensure every officer on every shift can have a chance to receive the recognition they deserve.”